Board committee recommends ARPA funds for projects helping homeless Springfieldians

A Springfield City Council committee has finalized recommendations to allocate the remainder of their available federal ARPA funds — dividing $7 million to address homelessness in the community.

The federal Pandemic Recovery Act allocated $40 million to Springfield, which the city mostly allocated last summer. They have set aside funds intended to address homelessness to receive more community proposals to address the problem.

At its Oct. 11 meeting, the city council’s ARPA review committee voted to recommend the allocation of approximately $7 million in funds to support homeless services and affordable housing projects. . A council bill is being drafted for the city council to consider at its October 17 meeting.

The proposal to Council will include recommending $3 million for the Community Partnership of the Ozarks to build a Goal-Based Day Center; approximately $2.8 million to complete a previously approved Federal Investment Partnership US bailout project; allocation of $2.2 million for the creation of a non-collective shelter; $650,000 for respite care services for the homeless; and about $550,000 for affordable home ownership.

The $2.8 million supplement is in addition to $3,805,703 in HOME-ARP funding previously approved by City Council. The HOME-ARP program was created in 2021 to meet the need for homeless assistance and support services. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is available to participating state and local jurisdictions.

“This will help address priority needs identified in the consultant’s report provided to City Council,” ARPA Committee Chairman and Councilman Matt Simpson said in a statement.

The Community Partnership of the Ozarks submitted the proposal for the Goal-Based Day Center. The Connecting Grounds submitted the proposal for respite care services.

In a statement to the News-Leader, Connecting Grounds Pastor Christie Love said she was “grateful” for the priority the city has placed on “filling the gaps in our service system to try to better equip our community to support our neighbors in need”.

“We believe the combination of selected projects will have a positive impact on our community and move us in the right direction to address Springfield’s growing poverty and homelessness crisis,” Love said. “Our team is ready to begin work immediately on the six projects this grant will enable us to undertake so that these expanded services can be made available as quickly as possible to those who need them as the cold season approaches.”

The committee also agreed to recommend $150,000 for CASA projects for a clubhouse and play space for foster children and $100,000 for capital improvements to Lincoln Cemetery, a historic African-American cemetery that Councilor Monica Horton had advocated for funding.

Approximately $2.75 million of the city’s ARPA remains in reserve for potential critical services related to COVID-19 until those funds are reallocated by the city council. The committee will meet later.

Andrew Sullender is the local government reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow him on Twitter @andrewsullender. Email tips and story ideas to [email protected]

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